Planning a roadtrip for a family of four requires making a plethora of lists. Lists of what to pack, who to see and what to do while at the destination, and what to get done before leaving for the destination.
In addition to packing clothes, shoes, toiletries, movies, toys and music…there is another very important component to the roadtrip. Food.
There’s just something about sitting down in a car that makes me (and those I love dearly) want to eat. And, having traveled with kids a few times by now, I know all too well that they tend to get incredibly hungry at the most inconvenient times. And starving, unhappy children, make for an undelightful trip. Thus it’s best to be overly prepared in the food department.
I am well aware that, in the course of a day’s worth of driving, I consume at least four times the amount of snacks that I would have consumed had I been sitting at home for the same amount of time. But when you’re in a car there is nothing to do other than look out the window, tend to the demanding people seated behind you. And eat.
So, making a list of snacks for the car is crucial trip planning work. And who better to help me with the culinary planning than the top consumer (besides me). My five year old.
I was in the process of drawing up a calendar of the days we’d be gone and what we’d do each day (more or less) when he approached me. ‘What are you doing,’ he asked. ‘I’m making a calendar for our trip to Indiana,’ I replied. ‘Let’s talk about what snacks we’re going to take in the car,’ he suggested helpfully. He cut to the chase – I like that.
‘Okay, what do you want to pack,’ I asked.
He was crystal clear on the matter: M&M’s, Smarties, Skittles, Apples, Grapes, Oranges, Strawberries, Cheese and Crackers and Quesadillas. Milk and Apple Juice to drink.
‘It would be pretty hard to pack quesadillas,’ I mentioned. So he relented and suggested sandwiches instead.
I used his list as a blueprint and resorted to purchasing and packing most of the items he’d suggested. I eschewed oranges, remembering the customs officer who’d had ‘issues’ with my citrus back in April. I packed bananas instead, which was a huge mistake. They get bruised and mushy and no one wants to eat them. Won’t do that again.
As we were moseying down the vast expanse of road before us, my oldest would lean forward at the slightest crinkle of a paper and announce insistently: ‘I want some of that….what are you eating…I want some.’ When it comes to food, he has ears like a dog. He can hear something tasty being unwrapped from miles away, especially when I’m trying extra hard to do it quietly. If I offered a snack to the Hen – the man who ate nothing but crackers on this trip – he would chime in immediately: ‘I want some too!’ even if he’d just had a snack three minutes prior. And when he found something he liked, I had to keep it coming – and fast. ‘I want some more…I want some more….I want some more.’ A bottomless pit, eyes glued to the DVD player, absentmindedly putting his hand in his mouth. Repeatedly.
During our drive, Jason may have hinted that his job was much more taxing than mine. Sitting in the driver’s seat, occasionally hitting the gas or the brakes, while listening to the radio station of his choice and holding out his hand so that I could fill it with snacks. Tough, indeed.
I contend the person sitting in the passenger seat (in this case…moi) has the worst job, by far. Tending to a flock of demanding peeps with outstretched appendages demanding ‘more’. Rotating head and torso 45 degrees every three minutes in order to dole out snacks or drinks or tend to the DVD player, while being sawed in half by a seatbelt. Trying to nod off for just ten minutes, only to be rudely interrupted with an ‘I’m hungry….I need a snack….I’m thirsty…I need a drink…..the movie stopped working….he’s bugging me….’
Perhaps I’ll replace the snacks with Benadryl for the drive back to Canada.